chain: How supplements are produced, from raw materials to consumer
starts with either mining or growing the materials from which supplements
are made. Raw materials manufacturers process these substances to
produce component materials. Manufacturers typically buy materials
from raw materials manufacturers, blend them, and convert them to
a consumable form, such as tablets, capsules, or liquid extracts.
may pack the supplements into containers and label the product,
or they may sell their supplements to a repackager who does this
task. Therefore, the company listed on a bottle is not necessarily
the manufacturer. Instead it may be a private label using their
own brand name. This practice is common in many industries, including
dietary supplements. Today there are thousands of suppliers of dietary
supplements in the United States, only twelve of which do most of
manufacturer or repackager may then market the product directly
to consumers through channels such as mail catalogs or an Internet
website. Alternatively, they may sell their products to resellers
-- such as mail order houses, wholesalers, distributors, retailers,
and health care providers -- who in turn sell them to consumers
or other resellers in the chain.
single brand name may be produced by more than one manufacturer.
This makes tracking of products through the supply chain a bit trickier.
Furthermore, in the current rapid growth environment of the dietary
supplements industry, large manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies
are buying up small manufacturers. Thus the supply chain is often
in a state of flux.
of these complexities, lot number labeling is the only reliable
means of tracking a product. This allows every step of the production
process from growing to manufacturing to stocking of store shelves
to be tracked. Many dietary supplement manufacturers in the United
States use lot numbers and publish their lot tracking process so
that the origin of any product can be traced.
You can encourage the development of higher quality standards by
asking questions . . .
This Quality Questionnaire takes a comprehensive look at all areas
that affect quality of dietary supplements . . .